Chinese video-sharing app TikTok is once again facing backlash in two different continents due to security concerns. Within 24 hours, the UK and New Zealand banned TikTok on the phones of the parliamentarian.
The ban brings the UK and New Zealand in line with the US, Canada, the European Union (EU), and also India – which banned TikTok entirely from the country.
Meanwhile, China has accused the US of spreading false information about TikTok’s potential security risks.
According to the US FBI and Federal Communications Commission, TikTok parent company Bytedance could share the user data of the application–such as browsing history, location, and biometric identifiers — with China’s authoritarian government.
In 2017, China implemented a law, requiring companies to give the government any personal data relevant to the country’s national security. There’s no evidence that TikTok has turned over such data, but fears abound due to the vast amount of user data it collects.
During the Covid pandemic, the Central government banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese applications over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after the Galwan clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. The ban was made permanent in 2021.
The US government has given 30-day time to its government agencies to uninstall the app from their devices. The ban will apply only to US lawmakers.
Canada has also asked its government officials not to use TikTok app because it presents an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security.
The European Parliament, European Commission, and the EU Council, three top EU bodies, have imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices.
Besides, Taiwan and Afghanistan have also banned the Chinese app. Pakistan has temporarily banned TikTok at least four times, citing concerns that the app promotes obscene content.